While wearing sunscreen is extremely important for protecting your skin, did you know it can cause damage to our planet's reefs?
When sunscreen rinse your skin and mix with water, they can help bleach coral and even speed up the process. While many people are not familiar with coral whitening, you've probably heard something along the lines,
"The Great Coral Reef dies."
Well, not only is the Great Coral Reef, but coral reefs around the world, such as Hawaii, the Seychelles and the Maldives, are affected by chemicals in some sunscreens.
Not only chemicals damage the reefs, but they can also be toxic to marine life.
The culprits? THExybenzone and octoxynate. While more research is being done, in July 2018, Hawaii passed a law banning future sales of sunscreen containing benzophenone-3 (another name for oxybenzone) and octoxynate.
Due to the damage they can cause, many islanders take things in their hands and develop sunscreens that are safe for the reefs, hoping to protect their home.
Here are ways to help you choose sunscreens for healthy upgrades for your next tropical vacation!
Negative effects of sunscreen on our oceans
While climate change is one of the biggest factors affecting marine life, the sunscreen we do not need to add to it!
What exactly is the coral bleaching?
When chemicals in sunscreen reach the water, they can damage DNA in larval corals and adults. But what does that mean? It limits their growth and ability to grow in a healthy way … basically corals can not reproduce properly.
Coral usually bleaches when the water temperature is over 81 degrees …
which is hot enough hot! And when oxybenzone comes into contact with water, corals will actually begin to whiten at 78 degrees.
I know this grade difference may seem small, but with the heating of the oceans – that's huge! Think about when you get a fever … it's just a few degrees higher than your body's normal temperature, but man man, you can feel him!
Since coral reefs are already struggling, we do not want to add anything else that could hurt them!
Not all sunscreens are equal
Your skin is your biggest organ, so you have to do everything you can to protect it, right?
Think about what happens when you use sunscreen: apply it several times and let it infuse your skin. If you use a spray, you can probably inhale sunburn … or if you apply SPF on your lips, you could consume a small amount.
The FDA is currently examining sunscreens in the market
The FDA is concerned that some sunscreens may include components that cause cancer, become confused with hormones, and cause endocrine disruptions. No thanks!
Sunscreens that also contain retinyl palmitate (also known as vitamin A), an antioxidant that fights skin aging, can actually cause skin tumors to develop when in the sun.
What can you do
Do not worry, that does not mean you have to stop wearing sunscreen – at no time!
First, when looking to buy a new sunscreen, hand products and skin lotions, avoid ingredients such as vitamin A.-Aka retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, retinyl linoleate, and retinol.
Second, avoid sunscreen spraying.
When you spray the sunscreen, you do not just take it to yourself, but you also get it in your entire environment. Put solutions in the air and across the sand, potentially causing damage to even more animals and their habitat.
And, last but not least, wear sunscreen sunscreen. They are usually made with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. research shows that few (if any) zinc or titanium particles penetrate the epidermis.
So when it comes to sunscreen, minerals tend to be better than chemicals, both for you and for the environment.
Reef-Safe Sunscreens I love!
These are some of my favorite hydrophilic, water resistant and biodegradable sunscreen!
Biodegradable Sunblock mineral oil from Stream2Sea
Tested and proven, safe, biodegradable sports sunscreen
Researching ingredients in your sunscreen will not only help the environment, it will also help you live your best and healthier life!
Take a look at these ingredients and check whether the sunbands you buy are reef-friendly, especially for your next tropical vacation!
The Ultimate Eco-Travel Guide
If you want to make sure that your way of life is more environmentally friendly when traveling, I have written a guide to all the things you can start doing to be greener.